Amazon Swords are one of the most popular plants in the freshwater aquarium community. They are beautiful, easy to care for, and beneficial to the rest of your tank.
This guide covers everything you need to know about Amazon sword care. She will also learn how to plant it and how to propagate it!
The Amazon Sword is a freshwater aquarium staple! Beautiful, easy to grow and very affordable, it is one of the most common aquarium plants in the trade.
Technically speaking, the nickname «sword amazon» refers to the entire genus Echinodorus. However, you may see several types of plants sold under this name. Echinodorus amazonicus, Echinodorus grisebachii and Echinodorus bleheri have the same common trade name.
Author’s Note: Regardless of which type of Amazon sword you get, the care guidelines are all very similar.
This plant comes from the biodiverse waters of the Amazon River basin. It is a hardy plant that can adapt to many environments, making it a fantastic choice for most freshwater tanks. With its vibrant coloration and dense foliage, it has a lot to offer tank dwellers too.
The benefits of having it in your tank
Whether you have a freshwater tank full of skittish shrimp or fish, Amazon Sword Plants are a must! These plants offer tons of enrichment for the inhabitants of the tanks. They are a place to explore, hide, and even breed.
Many aquarists like to use them as background plants. A group of Amazon Swords can create a dense jungle of vegetation. However, individual plants can also act as a focal point.
Either way, the plant is much more than decorative.
Like many other aquatic plants, the presence of Amazon Swords can have a positive impact on water conditions. It absorbs carbon dioxide in the water and produces oxygen for your fish. Not only that, but it uses organic waste and debris to grow. These plants can also help keep ammonia and nitrate levels in check.
While there are a few different varieties of Amazon sword, they all have the same basic appearance. The only difference is the size and texture of the leaves.
Amazon swords are rosette-shaped plants. They have a bushy appearance with slender stems growing from a central root crown.
The plant gets its name from the lance-shaped leaves! Each leaf widens near the base before tapering to a point.
You may see cultivars with broad or thin leaves. Some even have ruffled edges with defined waves! This gives them a stunning look that many love for aquascaping.
Author’s Note: A healthy plant will have dark green leaves. Any brown or red spots are a sign that the plant is not getting enough nutrients.
size and growth rate
A great advantage of caring for Amazon swords is that they have a slow growth rate. These plants can flourish and thrive in a well-established freshwater aquarium. But new growth does occur over time, making the plant much easier to manage than other popular aquarium species.
That doesn’t mean the Amazon sword won’t get big! The leaves generally reach lengths of about 12 inches.
Author’s Note: However, they are capable of growing to 20 inches or more in a large freshwater tank. If you don’t trim it down, an Amazon sword can easily overcrowd a smaller tank.
Amazon Sword Care
There are many reasons why these plants are popular in the pet trade. Most importantly, taking care of your Amazon sword is a pretty easy process! Whether you’re a novice aquarist or a seasoned aquascaping artist, this is one plant you should have no trouble handling.
Amazon swords can provide a dramatic look in your underwater setting without a lot of work. As long as you meet the following basic requirements, you should have no problem thriving.
Amazon swords can be grown in small 10 gallon tanks. An aquarium of that size provides more than enough space to allow the plant to spread while maintaining stable water parameters.
However, an aquarium of that size is not enough for the plant to reach its full potential. It’s also not a huge size if you plan on having a lot of fish!
We recommend keeping Amazon Swords in an aquarium that holds 20 to 30 gallons. Larger freshwater tanks offer more vertical space for leaf growth. In addition, the plant will not overcrowd the inhabitants of the tank.
Anything smaller, and your plant may require constant cutting to maintain it. Amazon Swords can grow partially submerged, so you can push the limits by getting them out of the typical confines of your tank. But once again, a smaller tank will only hinder your development.
In the wild, Amazon swords come from a fairly diverse background. The Amazon River basin is warm and full of life. It’s also the same place many popular freshwater tropical fish come from!
As a result, it is not difficult to find suitable water parameters for your plant and fish.
Amazon swords are also quite adaptable. They have no problem flourishing in a wide range of conditions, allowing you to focus on the inhabitants without worrying about your plant.
- Water temperature: 72°F to 82°F
- pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5 (aim for neutral if possible)
- Water hardness: 3 to 8 KH
Author’s Note: Although this is a hardy plant, it’s still a good idea to keep a close eye on your water parameters. Get in the habit of using a high-quality water testing kit to ensure your tank is healthy and stable.
These plants only need a moderate amount of light to survive. Choose full spectrum lighting that offers approximately two to three watts per gallon of water volume.
It’s a balancing act that provides just the right amount of light for Amazon swords. Too much will result in algae growth on the leaves. Light algae growth is not a major concern, but large numbers could cause health problems for the plant.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a lack of light can cause discoloration. Leaves often turn brown or red due to lack of light for photosynthesis.
You may need to experiment a bit to get it right. Follow a standard day/night cycle and adjust the lighting schedule to find the sweet spot. Pay attention to the health (and color) of the plant and make any necessary adjustments.
These plants have robust root systems. The pattern is great and powerful. Even in young plants, the roots have no problem spreading wide and deep.
As a result, Amazon sword can accommodate rougher substrate materials than most plants.
It has no problem growing in standard gravel substrates. Roots will work their way through the pieces of gravel. As long as the gravel is loose and relatively small, it should be able to uproot and grow fairly easily.
That said, you ‘ll probably see better results with a loose planting medium. Special plant substrates are often rich in nutrients, which could make it easier for the plant to establish itself.
Author’s Note: Always make sure the substrate does not contain any chemicals or materials that could harm the other inhabitants of the tank.
how to plant it
Planting Amazon sword plants is a simple process.
The first thing to do is to examine the plant and quarantine it. Quarantine will ensure that the Amazon Sword does not bring any pests or diseases into your main tank. After at least two weeks in a quarantine tank, you can start preparing your final home.
Author’s Note: It’s worth noting that many aquarists skip this step. While it works most of the time, the results can be catastrophic if luck is not on your side.
Remove discolored or dying leaves. Amazon swords do not heal on their own, so it is best to remove blades with cuts or scratches.
Dig a small hole in an area that has plenty of room for growing. The best is a place near the center of the tank. However, you can also grow it in front of filters and tank equipment if you have a larger aquarium.
Put the pattern firmly in the hole and leave the crown visible. Do not bury the root crown. It should be visible after planting.
Trimming and pruning
Thanks to its slow growth, trimming and pruning is not something you need to worry about with Amazon swords. Aside from cosmetic trimmings to keep the plant clean, this is not an area where you will spend a lot of time.
You can cut back old growth as the plant ages. The oldest leaves are closer to the outside of the bush. Simply tear off the entire sheet to make way for a new development.
It’s also a good idea to remove diseased leaves, as Amazon swords can succumb to infection. When this happens, the leaves usually turn black and frayed. Remove affected leaves to prevent the disease from spreading to the base of the plant.
Beyond that, let the plant grow! The main priority of Amazon swords is space. Use cutouts to prevent overcrowding. If the plant has ample room to thrive, you won’t have to do any pruning.
At first glance, Amazon’s swords look pretty sturdy. But don’t let those big leaves fool you. These plants are more delicate than people think. They can handle most environments, but rambunctious fish are another story!
Amazon swordfish are prohibited if you have fish that are known to uproot plants or eat leaves. Some of the worst offenders are cichlids, plecos, and goldfish !
Larger cichlids like to move these plants as they see fit. Meanwhile, the goldfish will devour the leaves whenever they get hungry. Despite their otherwise gentle nature, plecos will slowly scrape off the top layer of the plant’s foliage until the Amazon sword dies.
Stick to peaceful fish that do not cause any damage to the plant. Smaller fish are usually better, as they will use the plant for shelter rather than food. Small invertebrates like shrimp and snails are also good choices. They can keep the leaves clean without causing damage like a pleco would.
Some good sword tank mates from Amazon include:
- guppy fish
- molly fish
- Platy Fish
- Gouramis (we love Dwarf Gourami)
- zebra danio
- neon tetra
- hatchet fish
- Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
- freshwater aquarium snails
Most of the Amazon swords in trade today started out as spreads. This plant can reproduce naturally by developing small flowers that emerge from long stems. However, this rarely occurs in an aquarium.
Instead of, most plants will grow runners. These runners appear as long maternal stems. The stem usually sprouts from the center of the plant when growing conditions are optimal.
Author’s Note: Runner stems are easy to identify. At first, they look like another leaf that is starting to grow. However, the branch stays slim and slender even when it exceeds the length of the other leaves.
Small seedlings will grow from the stem in several nodes. To maximize the chances of survival, allow the seedlings to develop some roots. Once that happens, you can remove them to replant them.
Cut back the runner to remove seedlings. Start at the end of the corridor so that the youngest daughter plants can continue to grow.
After they are separated from the parent plant, place them in the substrate. You can secure them with small rocks as the roots grow. For best results, slightly increase the CO2 levels in the tank to encourage seedling growth.
Amazon sword care is an extremely simple task. As long as you follow the above guidelines and recommendations, you really shouldn’t have any problems.
The impact this plant can have on the health and aesthetic appeal of your tank is astounding. There’s a reason it’s so popular!
If there is any question you would like to ask us about this plant that has not been answered in the guide, we will be happy to help. Just write what you would like to know and send it. We will contact you as soon as possible!